Feathered Bastard

SB 1070 Fallout: Video of Yesterday's Civil Disobedience, and the Capitol 9 Released from 4th Avenue Jail

State Senator Russell Pearce calls them "anarchists," I call them a group of courageous young Americans.

But don't worry what a white-trash bigot like Pearce has to say about the nine who were arrested shortly after chaining themselves to the old Capitol building's doors yesterday.

Watch Dennis Gilman's video above, and you'll see that these activists conducted themselves with dignity. Their nonviolent act of civil disobedience was in the finest traditions of America, the U.S. Constitution, and the fight for justice here in Arizona and beyond.

Last night, eight were released from the Forth Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix on their own recognizance. 

One girl, Daisy Cruz, 20, was released before the others because her family put up the $500 bail that was initially being asked.

All nine face charges of disorderly conduct, which is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $2,500 and a possible sentence of up to six months in jail.

I was there when Cruz, an ASU student who is a junior in Justice Studies, ironically, exited the jail around 10 p.m. to the thunderous applause of more than 200 supporters outside.

She told her fellow activists that the prisoners inside could hear the high-spirited drum-thumping, chanting and singing they'd been engaged in, and that the other prisoners had been supportive, but for a funny reason.

"Some people thought we were for legalizing weed," she told the crowd, laughing. "We were like, `Um, no, that's not why we're here.' "

Later, Cruz explained that the look I'd seen on her face of fear while she was being arrested was genuine.

"It was my first time being arrested," she told me. "It was scary doing it, but just knowing everyone was out here motivated everybody. The other inmates were like, `Hey, they're chanting for you out there, it's a protest.'"

She said her fellow arrestees at the Capitol were also ASU students, but that they were not part of one group in particular. She said she didn't know if the action would move Governor Jan Brewer to veto the bill, but that she's hopeful Brewer will.

Her eight comrades were not released until much later in the evening. I commend all of them for their willingness to stand for what is right.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons